Re: New contribution

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 09:58:20 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: New contribution"

    At 20:02 -0400 2004-04-28, Dean Snyder wrote:
    >Michael Everson wrote at 12:15 PM on Wednesday, April 28, 2004:
    >>Because Hebrew is only *one* of Phoenician's descendants and because
    >>there is a requirement to distinguish the two in plain text. There
    >>exist Hebrew texts and Greek texts which use this script to display
    >>the Tetragrammaton, for instance.
    >This can more be more accurately viewed as a font change.

    No, it could not. Even in antiquity, as Mark Shoulson pointed out on
    this topic months ago, the native users of these scripts
    distinguished them. Samaritans who did not go into Exile retained
    their original Phoenician script (though it developed later into
    something rather different and uniquely Samaritan); Jews in Exile
    gave up the Phoenician script and adopted its descendant, Aramaic
    script (which developed later into something rather different and
    uniquely Hebrew).

    Mark quoted the following to me in a private discussion in December.
    It is from the Mishna ffrom Yadayim:

    "The targum [i.e. Aramaic text] in Ezra and Daniel, renders the hands
    impure [long story; point being that by Rabbinic decree, holy books
    render one's hands impure in a certain way]. Targum that one wrote in
    Hebrew [i.e. Aramaic Biblical text translated into Hebrew] or Hebrew
    written in Targum, and Hebrew script(!), do not render the hands
    impure. In general, it never impurifies the hands until written in
    Ashurit script, on skin, with ink."

    Mark described this further. I said "That's not font variants." He said:

    "Doesn't sound that way to me. The shapes of the leters in the Torah
    are very closely described, and even if something has an actual
    mistake (letter broken or touching another or missing), the scroll is
    unfit, but I think it still has the same sanctity (though THAT we'd
    have to check). Which would apply to font-variants of Asshurit

    (Asshurit = Assyrian = Aramaic that became Square Hebrew. Hebrew =
    Palaeo-Hebrew = Phoenician here.)

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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